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We can reduce the risk of hip dysplasia NOW!

Discussion in 'General Dog Discussions' started by Institute of Canine Biology, Jul 21, 2018.

  1. By Carol Beuchat PhD
    You can't be a dog breeder without worrying about hip dysplasia. It's the single greatest cause of pain and suffering in dogs despite diligent efforts of breeders to reduce risk through selection.

    Why have we made so little progress in 50 years? I think there are a number of issues, but one of the most important is that we don't worry as much as we could about environmental (i.e., non-genetic) factors.

    For example, these are data for Labrador Retrievers raised from birth under common conditions in a research facility. From each litter of puppies, one puppy of a pair went into the control group and the sibling went into the treatment group. The dogs were raised through adulthood and every year (but one) their hips were evaluated for evidence of dysplasia. The only difference between the control and treatment groups was how much they were fed.

    The results of this simple experiment were astonishing. In Labradors that were fed the normal amount of food, 50% had evidence of hip dysplasia by 6 years of age and about 80% by 12 years. In the treatment group that was fed less, only 10% of the dogs were dysplastic by 6 years, and more than half never showed signs of dysplasia.
    The dogs in these two groups were litter mates, so genetics was not responsible for the huge differences in the development of hip dysplasia. The explanation is very simple: dogs that were fed less had a dramatically lower incidence of hip dysplasia.


    The food restricted group not only suffered less pain and loss of mobility, they also lived longer. Less than half of the control group lived longer than 11 years and only 15% survived to 12 years. But about 75% of the dogs in the treatment group survived to 11 years and 50% lived to 13.


    Think about this. We can make a dramatic difference in the risk of hip dysplasia and quality of life of a dog just by adjusting food intake. If I sold a pill that would make a huge difference like this, I'd be rich and you would be happier.

    You have probably heard of many things that are claimed to prevent hip dysplasia. Vitamin C, raw diet, mineral supplements, specific forms of exercise, and on and on. But most of these failed to prove useful in careful scientific experiments. Don't waste your time and money on supposed treatments that make no difference. Focus on the things that have been proven to matter and that you can control.

    Food just one of the many non-genetic factors that can affect the development of hip dysplasia in dogs. There is much more we can do that will reduce risk and make a real difference in quality of life after the breeding decision is made. You can learn more about the cause and prevention of hip and elbow dysplasia in dog in ICB's online course.

    Check out ICB's online course


    Learn more about how genes and environment affect the risk of hip and elbow dysplasia, as well as how to use heritability and Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) to dramatically improve the efficiency of genetic selection.

    The 10 week course is online and you can work at your own pace!

    Class starts MONDAY, 23 July 2018

    Sign up now!

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    dellacella, Nat Ursula and EstyEsty like this.

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